Martin Hermannsson is a 20 year old 190cm guard from Reykjavik Iceland that is a member of the Iceland national team and will play at Euro 2015 and just completed his first season with LIU Brooklyn(NCAA) where he played 30 games averaging 10.1ppg, 3.8rpg, 3.3apg, FGP: 45.3%, 3PT: 27.5%, FT: 86.4%. He played for KR Reykjavik from 2009-2014 before going to the States to play for LIU Brooklyn. He spoke to German Hoops before the first game against Germany.
Thanks Martin for talking to German Hoops You will be in Berlin soon to start playing at the Euro 2015 with Iceland. What dealings have you had with the German capital in the past in terms of basketball? Did you ever play in the O-2 arena or visit the city?
No this is my first time in Germany. But I’ve heard a lot good things about Berlin and it was always my plan to come here one day.
How vivid is the 78-70 loss to Bosnia last summer that etched the Iceland ticket for Euro 2015? Was that the most joyous loss of your life?
It was without a doubt the most joyous loss of my life. It was pretty funny seeing both teams celebrate at the end of the game. But the feeling of knowing that we had etched the ticket for Euro2015, first time in history of Icelandic basketball was amazing.
Iceland had an up and down pre- season usually beating weak teams, but losing to stronger teams. How happy were you with the last weeks in preparation for the Euro 2015?
All of those games were good for us. We saw what we had to change and do better and also what was working.
Iceland ended the 2015 summer pre -season with a tough 86-46 loss against Belgium. How can the team go into the Euro 2015 with confidence after suffering such a brutal loss?
We saw it in the preseason games that we can play all those teams. This loss against Belgium hopefully gives us a good image of what can happen if we don’t show up ready for each and every game.
How important will it be for Iceland to remember beating England twice last summer not to lose self confidence when you go against tough teams like Germany, Italy and Turkey?
If you don’t have self confidence you are not going to win. We just need to play our game and work together as a team. It doesn’t matter who you are going up against, you just have to come out focused and ready to play. Those wins against England last year and Holland this year hopefully gives us a confidence boost and shows us what we are capable of.
Iceland has nothing to lose. No one outside Iceland is giving you any chance to win any game. What will be key on a normal basis for 40 minutes to be able to keep up with teams like Germany, Italy, and Turkey?
We just need to play our game. Play with good tempo for the whole 40 minutes, box out and stick to our game plan.
The biggest strength of Iceland is the outside shooting. Does the team believe that with a good shooting day that you can beat almost any team?
Of course. We have to believe it.
Iceland opens up against Germany. How excited are you about playing against Dirk Nowitzki? Is this like a childhood basketball dream for you that you be on the court one time before the big German retires?
Every game in this group is going to be tough. We just need to take one game at a time. Going up against Dirk is going to be fun. He has been one of my favorite players since I started watching the NBA.
Did teammate Jon Stefannson tell the team any stories about Dirk Nowitzki or at least give some tips on how to stop him even if it has been 11 years since he was teammates with the then much younger German.
Not really. I’m 10 years old at the time when they were teammates. But I know that they are good friends.
The biggest weakness of Iceland is inside play and athleticism. How will Iceland want to compensate this against Germany ?
We just need to be physical and mentally tough.
Do you think teams might underestimate Iceland and their team basketball? How big is the extra pass in the game plan of head coach Craig Pedersen?
Some teams are probably going to underestimate us. But I think that we have shown that we can play and we have good players. We play different style of Basketball then most teams do. We don’t have the same inside game but instead we have to be unselfish and keep the ball moving.
You, Elvar Fridriksson and Kris Acox are the future of Iceland basketball. How does the future look like? Do you have young talent coming up in the 95-98 years?
The future is bright. The youth teams have been doing really good. We have a lot of good prospects, and more and more guys are started to go the States and Europe.
How has Hoerdur Vilhjalmsson helped you with your game in the last years with the national team? What do you appreciate most about his game?
Hordur has helped me a lot. Especially how to use the pick and roll and seeing different options out of it. He also helped me a lot outside the basketball court.
You just finished your freshman year at LIU Brooklyn (NCAA) and played 30 games averaging 10.1ppg, 3.8rpg, 3.3apg, FGP: 45.3%, 3PT: 27.5%, FT: 86.4%. What kind of experience was your first season in the NCAA?
It was great. The basketball is way different there then it is in Europe. More athleticism and better defense’s. It was also fun playing in Barclays Center and Madison Square Garden.
You were the second leading scorer on the team. Do you feel that a successful career in the NCAA could be your ticket to a long career outside Iceland in higher leagues in Europe?
What do you remember from your first NCAA game against St Johns where you lost 66-53 and played against future NBA Draft Pick Sir Dominic Pointer?
It was fun and a good experience. St Johns had a really good team and Sir Dominic Pointer had a really good game. I think he had like 7 or 8 blocks following 6 or 7 dunks.
Who wins a one on one in practice you or Gerrell Martin?
That is a tough one. Lets just say that I would beat him in 1 on 1 but he would beat me in 3 point contest.
What is the state of Lebron James in 2015? Do you feel that he will ever be mentioned in the same breath as a Michael Jordan?
Yeah I think so. Lebron is without a doubt one of the best players of all time. We have never had any player similar to Lebron, that can do all of those things that he does. I still think that Jordan was better but I think Lebron will at the end of his career be mentioned in the same breath as Michael Jordan.
What was the last movie that you saw?
Kingsman: The secret service.
Thanks Martin for the chat.